The window near my desk provides a view offering little more than offense. A marine-blue, two-story 4 plex blocks a natural expanse of canyon and its inhabitants. The structure embodies the character of a cardboard box—only blue, and interrupted methodically by windows. At night, when the tenants illuminate their dwellings and open their shades, a gigantic entertainment system comes alive and redefines "reality TV." Fortunately, I’m not one much for television.
Little separates my place from theirs. The six foot, wooden fence goes virtually unnoticed from the window near my desk. Further ignored is an anemic tree, part of a series intermittently planted along and inside the fence line. Though my tree appears miniature, adjacent trees stand tall and robust; their lustrous leaves hiding the eyesore that lies beyond.
From that tree, the little one between here and there, hung an apple—just one, the size of a ping pong and colored golden green. The tree in support of this apple is petite; its trunk no larger than a twig, two branches splay, spindly like that of a Willow. If I’d not seen proof, I’d doubt it to bear fruit. No matter, the apple clung to its wispy branch well into the frosted nights of fall and past the demise of its brethren.
I found myself cheering for the apple, eager each morning to confirm its survival of the night before. What strength, I’d mutter, inspired to face the day with the same demonstrated determination. If an apple of that size—from a tree that small—can hold on day after day, then surely I can succeed. Morning inspections multiplied; I’d frequent the window just to smile. Regardless of my own health, a day the apple conquered was extraordinary.
One morning, I looked to that strand atop the tree and did not find what I sought. The tree was barren, its limbs naked, cold. During the darkness, my apple had surrendered. Though I knew the hour inevitable, the process natural, my heart became heavy and threatened to let go my frame, to join its friend resting, now, in the dirt.
I look out my window still, though not as often. The adjacent trees, once a source of envy, resemble nothing more than a collection of vertical sticks, their leaves no longer bettering the view for my neighbors. Though my tree is bare and will be for months, it has gifted me a richer sight. Every time I look out the window near my desk and see that wisp of tree, it reminds me of the apple . . . and of what we all can be.